Tuesday, December 30, 2014

You Got a Puppy for the Holidays…Now What?

If you were lucky enough to add a puppy to your family this holiday season, congratulations!  Puppyhood is a special time as a pet parent!  It will soon be the New Year, time to go back to work and back to school, and now you have a new furry friend to care for…what do you do?

As we’ve mentioned in a previous blog, puppyhood is a very important time for your dog to grow, and while being a puppy parent may feel overwhelming…don’t worry!  We are here to help.

Socialization. Socialization is extremely important when it comes to your young puppy. Puppies may seem happy-go-lucky and invincible, but that behavior will not necessarily translate to adulthood unless you reinforce those behaviors by socializing your dog. Letting dogs learn to interact in new situations while they are young is important because it creates the building blocks to a successful adult dog.

There are many lifelong benefits to presenting your dog with new scenarios while they are young. Introducing them to other people, other dogs, new situations and different environments while encouraging positive interaction is especially critical during what is called the “Puppy Socialization Window.”

Puppies eight to sixteen weeks old are in this window, which essentially means that puppies are a sponge; they will soak up everything they are exposed to. Failing to socialize your dog during this time period could lead to behavior problems during their adult life. Begin socializing your dog as much as you can during this young age!

Puppy Daycare. Morris Animal Inn offers a one of a kind Puppy Daycare. According to The American Veterinary Medical Association, puppies should begin socialization before they are fully vaccinated. For this very purpose, puppies from eight to twenty weeks old have the opportunity to socialize and interact with other puppies in our specially designed nursery.  Puppies will also learn the foundations of obedience, manners and routines.

Sometimes pet parents haven’t realized the challenges of a puppy; accidents in the house, chewing your precious belongings, teething with those razor sharp teeth and more! Puppy Daycare can help you start off right to avoid stress and have a harmonious home. Our Puppy Daycare is a great solution. Puppies play throughout the day and are kept on a regular puppy schedule so they come home tired and better behaved!

Puppy Primping. Morris Animal Inn offers a variety of options for your puppy, to help them grow into happy and healthy adults. Aside from Puppy Daycare, we also offer free Puppy Priming to help your puppy become more accustomed to what it’s like to spend a day at the spa and be handled by strangers. With puppies that will require frequent grooming, this is a great program to help them become comfortable in different situations while in the care of our professional Groomers.

Puppy Lodging. Are you planning an upcoming vacation? Morris Animal Inn offers a specially designed puppy lodging program called Puppy Steps for puppies 7 months and under. We understand that puppies require special care and nurturing and the Puppy Steps Program is designed to meet these essential needs.  For this crucial stage of development, we have created an experience that reinforces housebreaking, encourages play and provides comfort.

Manners & Obedience. Need help reinforcing manners and obedience with your puppy? Whether for the day or a longer stay, our Training Staff can help work with your pup to reinforce the foundations of manners such as sit, stay, come, down, off and more!

While owning a new puppy means more responsibilities, it also brings more joy and happiness to your household!  Like children, puppies grow so fast and it’s important to savor every moment! If you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a deep breath, snuggle with your new puppy and give us a call!  We’re here to help, every step of the way!

Source: AVMA

Monday, December 22, 2014

10 Fun Holiday Films Starring Dogs & Cats

1. The Dog Who Saved Christmas (2009)
The Bannister family's new addition, Zeus, the yellow Labrador, appears to be less than the dependable guard dog the family needs. However, when two burglars set out to break into the Bannister's home while they're away for Christmas, Zeus seizes the chance to be a hero, proving every dog - even this one - has his day. 

2. A Dog Named Christmas (2009)
A developmentally challenged young man with a penchant for caring for animals in need sets out to convince his family - and their whole rural community - to participate in a local shelter's inaugural "Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program."

3. The Nine Lives of Christmas (2014)

After a stray cat adopts Zachary, he meets Marliee and realizes the single life is not as fulfilling as he thought it was.

4. Chilly Christmas (2012)
A dog and a young boy run away from home on Christmas Eve to foil a bunch of bumbling animal thieves.

5. The Search for Santa Paws (2010)
Magic dogs and an elf team up with two children to rescue Santa who has lost his memory.

6. 12 Dogs of Christmas (2005)
A girl uses dogs to teach people about the true meaning of Christmas during the Depression.

7. 12 Wishes of Christmas (2011)
Willing to try anything to transform her life, Laura follows her best friend's suggestion and sets up a session with a life coach, who tells Laura to make 12 wishes for a positive change in her life. But before long, Laura realizes that her wishes are sparking unforeseen circumstances and she must act quickly to get her life back and her dog before Christmas.

8. Hercules Saves Christmas (2012)
"Hercules Saves Christmas" takes us on a magical, fun-filled and touching journey. Max, an adorable yet mischievous twelve year old boy meets a talking dog named Hercules who takes him to the North Pole to meet Santa and argue his way onto the "nice list."

9. Benji's Very Own Christmas Story (1978)
While on a publicity tour in Switzerland, Benji, Cindy Smith, and Patsy Garrett convince Kris Kringle that his place on Christmas Eve is delivering presents to all "his" families all over the world.

10. I Want a Dog for Christmas, Charlie Brown (2003)
Linus and Lucy's younger brother Rerun wants a dog for Christmas, and Snoopy's brother Spike may be the answer.

Wishing you and your family a great holiday!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Holiday Puppy Dos and Don'ts

During the holiday season, there is often an increase in the amount of puppies brought into homes. The holidays can be a stressful and busy time for everyone, but you still need to take time to focus on the newest member of your family! If you do bring a puppy home this season, it’s essential that you are prepared in order to begin shaping your puppy into the dog you want them to be. Below is a list of puppy dos and don’ts specifically for the holiday season.

DO puppy proof your holiday decorations. With a new puppy comes experiencing everything for the first time. This means a first introduction to Christmas trees, wrapping paper, tinsel and other holiday decor. If your dog is loose in the house and near the holiday decorations, make sure they are well supervised. Puppies can be extremely curious, so keep a watchful eye on your dog and never let them explore the holiday decorations alone.

DO be cautious when walking your puppy. If it is snowy outside, take care to protect your pet’s feet from ice and salt used on the sidewalks and streets. Read how to keep your dog’s paws safe outside here. Lawn decorations, including inflatables and giant plastic figurines, can be quite scary for a new puppy. Take caution around these objects and bring treats to entice the puppy to walk past anything that makes them uncomfortable.

DO provide your puppy with a safe place. The holidays can be filled with many family and friends visiting your home. Have a safe place for your dog to go when they are feeling overwhelmed. Signs of stress in your puppy may include not wanting to greet a certain person or barking. A crate is a great tool that can help your dog feel safe when stressful activities are happening around them.

DO socialize your little furry family memeber. Your puppy is at a very impressionable age, so it is best to expose them to other dogs and people during this time period. Morris Animal Inn offers Puppy Daycare to help your new pet learn how best to interact with other dogs. Visit our website to learn more about what we offer for puppies.

DO form a routine. From holiday parties to Christmas concerts, this festive time of year can be very busy. As always with a new puppy, however, it is important to keep your dog on a consistent schedule. This applies to waking up every morning and keeping bedtime consistent, as well as feeding and walking your dog at similar times each day. The more consistent you are, the easier it will be for your dog to adjust to their new home. A steady routine will also help your pet to have fewer accidents in the house.

DON'T slack on potty training. Extreme winter temperatures might make going for a walk seem like a huge chore, but just because it is cold outside doesn’t mean you can slack on potty breaks. Bundle up with your jacket and mittens and take your new puppy outside! If you have a short-haired or small dog, don’t forget to bundle them up too! A jacket will keep them nice and toasty during their winter walks.

DON'T feed your puppy food off the table. As tempting as it may be, don’t feed your new puppy food off the dinner table. Feeding your puppy scraps could lead to your dog begging or counter surfing as they grow older. Don't forget, not all of your holiday food is safe for your dog to eat. Better safe than sorry! If you really want to treat your dog to some of your holiday feast, fix them their own plate and don’t feed it to them off the table. You can always stuff a rubber Kong toy with some dog-safe holiday food, this way it will keep them busy while keeping them safe. Chicken or turkey without the skin would be a great treat for your new pup, however, limit quantities to avoid an upset tummy.

DON'T overwhelm your new furry family member. While it is great to socialize your young puppy and have them meet as many new people as possible, be careful not to overwhelm your dog. Remember that your puppy is in a new situation and a bunch of strangers in your home can be quite scary. Have your dog meet as many people as they seem comfortable meeting, and if the situation seems to get a little scary, make sure you have a safe place for them to go.

The holidays can be a fun time for you and your new puppy, but make sure that you do everything you can to set your new dog up for success and make their first holiday season a great one!

Happy Holidays! 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Should Your Dog Wear Winter Boots?

We can all agree that a pup in winter booties is just too cute!  While they are an adorable fashion accessory, did you know they can also help keep your dog’s paws safe and healthy during the cold winter months? 

Just like our skin, the winter can also wreak havoc on your dog’s paws. Between the effects of cold, snow, ice and salt, there are many reasons that a fresh new pair of winter boots may not be a bad idea for your dog!

Cold. Dogs out in the cold for long periods of times could be at risk for frostbite on their paws and hypothermia. Be sure to monitor how long your dog spends outside during the day, especially when the temperatures drop below freezing!

Snow and Ice.  A common cause of sore and cracked paws during the cold winter months are the ice balls which form between the pads and toes of dogs with furry feet. To reduce the risk of ice balls, keep inter-pad hair trimmed neatly and short during the winter months. Not only can fur on the feet contribute to the development of ice balls, paw hair can retain a lot of those nasty deicing salts from the sidewalks and roads. If your dog's feet are on the furry side, consider getting them trimmed them throughout the winter months.

Salt. One of the biggest threats to healthy paw pads is the salt used to melt ice on driveways, roads and sidewalks. Prolonged contact can lead to chemical burns on your dog's paws! If your dog is limping by end of a walk, these salts may be hurting their feet. If you dog does not have boots, try to keep them off the salty sidewalk or road in the grass or snow whenever possible.

Another threat comes from de-icers if your dog licks their paws or your boots, and ingests them. These salts are toxic! To prevent this from happening, keep a shallow bowl of warm water and a cloth near the entryway to your home so that you can wipe your boots and your dog’s paws when coming back inside.

If boots just aren't for your dog, gently washing your dog's paws after each trip outside can help keep them healthy. You can also help prevent cracked and bleeding paw pads by applying petroleum jelly or paw wax before your dog goes outside.  

Paw wax is another great alternative and is applied to the pads of the feet before a walk, forming a protective barrier between the paw and the salty sidewalk or pavement.

Whether or not your dog should wear booties is all up to you!  Some dogs may not feel comfortable in them in the backyard, while others spend most of their time outside walking on pavement and may need a little extra protection. Either way, please be aware of potential risks when it comes to snow, ice, and salt, and contact your veterinarian if your dog is limping or seems to have hurt paws after being outside. We hope you have a great, warm, and safe winter!

Sources: PetFinder & Vetstreet